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2008 XC-Open Piedrahita

Competition Results  
pdfOpen Class 1 Christian Maurer - CHE (Advance Omega)
  2 Jouni Makkonen - FIN (Gradient Avax SR 7)
  3 Godfrey Wenness - AUS (Advance Omega)
pdfWomen Klaudia Bulgakow - POL (Gin Boomerang 5)
pdfSerial Class Schloeffel, Ralph - DEU (Skywalk Poison 2)
pdfSport Class Miller, Christine (F) - DEU (Icaro Maverick)
pdfFun Class Benz, Sebastian - CHE (Nova Mamboo)

Meet Director: Steve Ham / Competition Scorer: Andreas Rieck

Saturday, 06-SEP-2008    

At first it looked like it wouldn't be possible to fly a task. It was still raining in the morning and the clouds covered the mountain. At 14:00 it was clearing and Steve Ham called a briefing on the mountain. The window was open at 14:50 with a Last Task Time of 18:00. Although the flying time was only a bit over 3 hrs. on this last competition day and the climb rates were slow due to a lot of moisture in the air, the best pilots still managed to cover an almost unbelievable distance of more than 90 km.

Chrigel Maurer CHE wins the task today, just few meters behind is Suby Lutolf ESP in second place.

The pilots party with free food and drinks for all pilots was on in the main square in front of the Vine Tree Bar. The prize giving was in front of the Town Hall of Piedrahita. There were a lot of the people of Piedrahita as well to celebrate with the crowd until the wee small hours of the morning.
   
Friday, 05-SEP-2008    

Too much wind for a flying day and a front was passing through with amazing lenticular clouds present all day.


The day was cancelled at the morning HQ briefing and pilots then spread out through the region enjoying another day of tourism in places like Salamanca or the medieval festival in Avila.
The local flying club organised a Sangria night for pilots to support the improvement of launch and landing facilities – impromptu fireworks and pub crawl kept everyone wearing the bright orange club t-shirts well entertained until the early hours.
 

   
Thursday, 04-SEPT-2008    

On arrival at launch it was obvious the wind was too strong for a competition task but pilots waited just incase a window presented itself. Steve Ham decided to start the task on the proviso, that it would be quickly stopped or cancelled if things looked dangerous.

The task was indeed cancelled for these safety reasons after just a few minutes when it was clear that wind conditions were beyond the limit for the bulk of the pilots present.


Chrigel Maurer was already on the way and continued for a free flight to clock up a nice 170km++ flight and a few others did around 100kms.
Later in the evening we had perfect conditions for ridge soaring ;-)

   
Wednesday, 03-SEPT-2008
   

The wind was on again at Pena Negra Take Off but stronger and cross early. The window was opened for the task after the 13:00 briefing when conditions backed off enough to launch. The task was open distance via 3 free choosen turnpoints again. In the beginning the westerly wind at launch was about 20km/h and straight on; it dropped more and more and at 14:30 it was almost zero as thermal activity increased. Most pilots had taken off and slowly drifted to the east in light scratchy climbs but nearing the pass the wind picked up due to local venturi effect and the higher terrain. In the upper levels the wind also became stronger again as the day progressed. Many pilots had crossed the pass and were on the way towards Avila at high speeds of up to 80km/h. The increasing winds also lead to thermals breaking up or being non existant in the cloudless valley which decked most of the pilots before Avila. Of those still flying beyond Avila the day promised 200kms+ and provided fast glides and stronger climbs with good convergence clouds. At 15:50 competition director Steve Ham however had to stop the task, because the wind in the Avila valley was getting strong again. The winner of the day was Godfrey Wenness (AUS) with 66kms on his Advance Omega Proto, followed closely by Bernhard Fuhrer (CHE) 65kms on a Gin Boomerang 5, with Jouni Makkonen (FIN) at 61kms with a Gradient Avax SR7.

   
Tuesday, 02-SEPT-2008    

No flying due to strong south-westerly winds.
   
Monday, 01-SEPT-2008    

A day with classic Piedrahita conditions. Clouds started forming around 12:30 with a base of 3000m already. Most pilots started the task of 3 free choosen turnpoints at around 1:30 (you can basically fly in whichever direction you want and the scoring software picks out the 4 longest legs of your flight; similar to online contest scoring, but with an optimization that always starts at take off). Some pilots, among them the task winner of the day Chrigel Maurer flew first about 10km towards the West into the wind to gain some extra kilometers and to have plenty of thermal markers in front of them. The classic Piedrahita convergence line developed in direction North-East. Most pilots flew towards Avila or further north following the convergence line which had cloud base over 3400m and well into the 3000m maximum height allowed east of Avila due to airspace. Chrigel Maurer (CHE) won the day on his Advance Omega Proto with a flight of 205 km, followed by XC-Open World Series organizer Hans Bausenwein (DE) on his Gin Boomerang 5 with 193 km and Manuel Nübel (DE), Swing Stratus WRC, took 3rd place with 180 km. Manuel seems to be the new rising star in the German competition scene having won all 4 tasks in the German Juniors Challenge 2008. Many pilots flew their personal bests on this perfect XC-day including Godfrey Wenness (AUS) who flew a „personal best without a vario“ of 175kms to be in 7th place on the day (indicating how good the day was !). Some pilots were also penalised for exceeding the 3000m height limit which lead to the scores changing significantly the next day and a few sad faces.

   
Sunday, 31-AUG-2008    

The usual XC Open task of 3 free choosen turnpoints was used. Steve Ham predicted that the NW wind would change towards Avila to a more NE direction. Conditions initially looked too light to stay up and fly XC and most pilots waited on launch for clouds and climbs to become evident. Last years runner up Godfrey Wenness (AUS) was first on course and crossed the pass while other were still at launch. Once in the air pilots experienced a variety of conditions ranging from light scratchy to strong climbs in the convergence. Steve´s prediction of a wind change at Avila was correct and the lead pilots used it to advantage to return back to the southerly ranges.
Nevill Hulett, Mac Para Magus 6, from South Africa won the day with a flight of 115 km. Last year’s Piedrahita XC-Open winner Damien Tuvo (CHE) , Boomerang 5, became 2nd with 112,8 km and Niviuk designer Olivier Nef (CHE) took the third place on his Serial Class Niviuk Peak with a flight of 110 km. All 3 crossed the ranges to the south of Avila but landed well before the 19.30 task finish time due to over clouding.

   
Saturday, 30-AUG-2008    

Too much wind for a competition task, but nice evening glass-off flights for most pilots.

   

Double Feature event !
XC-OPEN Piedrahita * 30AUG-06SEP 2008
GERMAN-OPEN Piedrahita * 07SEP-13SEP 2008
If you want to register for the German Open as well go to the DHV website 

A short description of the flying area
The small market town of Piedrahita is situated at 1000m MSL 185 km from Madrid, about 2 hrs. driving time.
The main take off Pena Negra at 1900m faces NE and is reached by a good paved road. Pena Negra can be used in 95% of the flying days. The first thermals are working around 11am in the valley.Piedrahita is a ideal place to reach the convergence line, that sets up in centre of the Spanish peninsula in front of the Sierras (see map below). It can extend for more than 300km with cloud bases above 4000m.
The main flying route takes you to the historic town of Avila and further on along the N110 highway.
Site records have been flown by Steve Ham 244km on 04 July 2004 and 280km by Patrice Quillet on 15 August 2004.
Another Piedrahita Special is the flying with storks in the same thermal - amazing pilots these guys.

Visit Piedrahita on Google maps

If you are looking to join a retrieve team for the Piedrahita XC-Open
use paragliging forum thread contacts:
* this thread started for the XC-Open Piedrahita 2007, but continued in 2008 for pilots who want to team-up and share the driving (the 2008 group is probably full already - August 13 2008)

* there is a new thread for pilots who want to team up for the 2008 Piedrahita XC-Open, which Hans Bausenwein started end of July 2008.

 

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